Beleaguered Wallabies coach Michael Cheika hasn't exactly excelled himself with the clipboard or at the selection table this year. Some decisions have been downright dumb, including bringing back his captain Michael Hooper from a hamstring ailment far too early, which saw him more an onlooker than a participant in the failed Bledisloe Cup campaign.
However Cheika's brain is at least switched on the right way for the Springboks Test- or maybe an independent selector has at last been included to the panel- as shown by the Wallabies adding much needed midfield spark and stability through the adventurous move of picking Kurtley Beale at No.10 and having Matt Toomua outside him.
Bernard Foley cannot quibble he is now on the bench. In the two Tests against New Zealand, Foley was trounced by his opposite No.10 Beauden Barrett. It was an embarrassing no contest, with Barrett in the end toying with the completely outclassed and at times befuddled Foley, especially in Auckland when the All Blacks pivot finished with four tries, and probably should have ended up with five.
A gun-shy Foley appeared completely intimidated during the Bledisloe Cup, playing deeper and deeper in the pocket the longer the two Tests went on, losing his kicking game, and in the end being ineffective, especially in attack.
While Barrett was a nine-out-of-ten phenomenon to reassert himself as an international power, Foley was at best a three-out-of-ten-flop. In the end one was waiting for the mercy towel to be thrown onto the field by someone on the Wallabies bench.
Admittedly the options at No 10 for the Wallabies is as barren as the Nullarbor. But something had to be done, or the slide would sadly continue. So why not try Beale at No 10?
It is a position he's accustomed to, and while Beale's defence remains a serious concern, he is unpredictable with ball in hand, understands the chemistry involved in the forwards-backs relationship, and has a sense of panache which could easily distract South Africa. There have been many worse No.10 in the Wallabies colours over the decades- including recent years.
As important is the selection of Toomua. He is the best No 12 in Australian rugby. Each time Toomua came on during the Bledisloe Cup series, the Australian attack immediately improved. He straightens up the attack, brings back its rhythm, and gives the backline a sense of maturity and coolness. Toomua will also be important in ensuring that Beale doesn't completely lose his head. He will be his guardian. Toomua is an under-rated performer, who should have been given far more game time during the Bledisloe Cup series. He never has a bad Test.
Bringing in Rory Arnold to improve a flimsy set-piece is understandable, with the only selection concern revolving around Israel Folau, who a day or two ago was only a 50-50 chance of playing in Brisbane. Damaged ankles take a considerable time to get over, and maybe Cheika is making the same mistake again. Players trying to hide injuries are more often than not a liability.
Tip: South Africa by 3.